Candace Marie Barry Evans
Candace was named after her beloved Grandfather’s candy business and was a truly sweet and loving woman. She was also smart as a whip, determined, unflinchingly principled, and filled with an unshakeable love for her family.
She was born on October 31, 1962, in Miami. A native Floridian, she died on December 18, 2019, in the very same hospital in which she was born. It was her Mother, Fay (Fairchild) Evans, and her Mammam, Verna Fairchild, that filled her heart with a steadfast and un-dimmable light and love for those around her.
Growing up, she encountered and overcame, every trial a child could have endured. Yet, she excelled in high school, even winning national awards. It was her Pappap, Clarence Eugene Fairchild, himself a navy pilot and airplane mechanic, that ignited her love of anything that flew. The two of them spent many an hour lying back on the hood of his car parked at the end of runways, identifying the planes as they flew overhead. She married her husband, Johnnie Evans, right out of high school. But, she was left on her own with three young children when he tragically died in a motorcycle accident. It was then that she followed her love of flight and enrolled in Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, of which her Pappap was an alum. With the support of close friends, Larry and others, and near-constant side jobs, she worked her way through school to earn her degree in Aeronautical Engineering. She worked proudly for Pratt Whitney on their NASA-related projects, including the Atlas V launch vehicle’s fuel injection systems and other secret ones we don’t know about. Allegedly, that included work on the famous SR-71 Blackbird.
Her involvement with NASA projects allowed her to be personally acquainted with all of our country’s astronauts at the time, often dining with them. Her Mother, Fay, took deep pride in Candace and her daughter’s many accomplishments, achieved in spite of so many life and family adversities. It was also her mother who often recited the mantra “women who behave rarely make history” and then demonstrated just how a woman could do anything by teaching herself how to maintain and overhaul her father’s semi-truck, keeping him on the road. Candace, in turn, fought relentlessly for the best lives of her Mom and her three dearly loved children, Ellery, Contessia, and Jolene. Her grandchildren, Robby, Cheyanne, Savannah, Lilly, and new addition Claire, remain embedded deeply within her heart - never ever to be forgotten or unloved. She truly lived for her family and put them above all else. Being born on Halloween, Candy derived great fun and pleasure from her many costumed creations, especially for the entertainment of her grandchildren. She took great pride in her home in West Palm Beach’s Acreage. She cared for her little ecosystem of trees, flowers, and critters with great pleasure. And her dogs, oh, she loved her dogs! Candy also took pride in her ability to wield a set of tools, not hesitating to disassemble her car as needed!
Out in the world, she fought for people experiencing homelessness and for changes to Florida’s self-serving guardianship laws, and she ardently stood up for environmental issues. Candy’s approach to issues reflected the philosophy expressed by a good friend and environmentalist, Lenny Kohm: We have to win. It’s not an option! She lived by this. Her very good friend Renee observed that despite suffering through domestic violence and lifelong liver disease, she still became someone: a good Mom, an aerospace engineer, and a good person.
Her mother, Fay also imparted a love of history to Candace. She particularly loved first editions that she felt carried the most accurate accounts of history. Included in these was Marco Polo’s Travels. His vast explorations into unknown lands, including the existence of unicorns, may have inspired her own drive and curiosity to explore and experience the world. Her pride in having the legacy of John Paul Jones, the first naval commander, in her bloodline may have further inspired her fearlessness. She had confronted danger and death many times. She stood up courageously, even brazenly, to them all. Right up through the end of her life, she determinedly encouraged love, good, right, and happiness.
Candy loved to travel and explore and took in experiences across Europe, Africa, and all around the Caribbean. She especially loved Jamaica, where she and her great friend Renee visited when in their 20s. Years later, they returned together and connected with this guy, her last love. We then explored together but always returned to Jamaica for the unique ambiance and culture Candy loved. She often singled out “likkle” children to surprise them with a soccer ball or set of school supplies and clothes. It was Jamaica’s One-Love where we met. Like Jamaica, she made such a loving difference in the world and in my life.
It would be remiss not to mention that she lived through a liver disease called NASH that seriously impacted her health. Miami Jackson had her on their transplant list for 15 long years – without ever offering a transplant to her, except once after 14 years, when she was too far away to avail herself of it.
Candy had always wanted to become a test pilot but regarded that as irresponsible considering the danger it represented to her young family. So, she became a female aerospace engineer! Beyond this accomplishment, Candy’s ultimate oft-stated goal, was to go to Mars - even if it was a one-way mission! Danger never intimidated her. Candy’s whole life had forged her into that kind of fearless and passionate adventurer. It is so appropriate that a small bit of ash from Candy, and her spirit, is going to take this ultimate trip into space. Leaving her family behind is something she would never do for any reason – unless she was confident they were prepared.
There will always be a pain, and an empty space without her here. Yet, in our hearts we know she’s there. We feel her!.. Candy’s Spirit will be everywhere, especially now above us in the universe, she will always give comfort, a warmth in our hearts, and pride! Knowing how Candy lived and how she loved us, giving everything of herself, gives us everything we need to live our own lives, raise our own families, and overcome whatever challenges come our way...Even into her future generations, Candace is counting on us to take her memory and build upon it. Take all the love and happiness she has imparted within each of our own hearts and lives, and keep living, keep forging our own futures! She knows you are ready.
In keeping with Candace’s aerospace theme, we close with a couple of Star Trek quotations. Candy had always been a Trekkie. For her to join fellow Enterprise engineer “Scotty” and other last frontier adventurers into perpetual orbit is so appropriate for her own long-held dreams - and for her wish to be always remembered. Candace, beyond expression, you so deserve this!
As with Spock’s launch to the Genesis planet and, to paraphrase Captain Kirk; Our Candy, you have done a far, far better thing than anyone could have ever done. We are launching you on your last big adventure, fulfilling your dream as best we can. I know you dreamed of going to Mars, Love…. This is the best I could do….. Your family, and their family’s families, and I, are going to remember you …. In such a Good Way. As our new star in the sky, forever! Ron